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Bass ID and repair advice

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Okotok, Apr 4, 2006.


  1. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    DSCF1229.JPG

    DSCF1231.JPG A friend of mine bought this old bass cheap at an auction. It has a solid top, back and sides and a number of crack issues. I plan on repairing it or having it repaired. I was just wondering if anyone can give me an idea as to the age and the maker? Hopefully the attachments work. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    Here's a couple of pics of the crack on the top and side.

    DSCF1243.JPG

    DSCF1239.JPG
     
  3. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    And a couple of the tuners and headstock.

    DSCF1234.JPG

    DSCF1236.JPG
     
  4. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    I was directed here by some people on the MIMF (Musical Instrument Makers forum) who suggested that I might get some repair advice here. I've never attempted this type of repair and certainly not on a double bass. I have built three archtop guitars and an archtop ukulele however, so have some knowledge. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Welcome, Okotok. First thing you need to do is remove the top table. Then you can access the areas that need work. Do you need info on top removal?
     
  6. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    Hi Arnold. I've removed one guitar top which was glued on with titebond. In that case, I used a putty knife ground to a thin edge and kept dipping it into boiling water while carefully working my way around the instrument. In this case, I'm assuming it is hide glue and that something similar would work?

    Should I make a cardboard outside form to hold the sides in position while the top is off and for reglueing?
     
  7. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    This is going to be a great project... and you've already got one of the masters advising you.
     
  8. ToR-Tu-Ra

    ToR-Tu-Ra

    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    :D That's one fine bass!!! Me like!!!

    Good luck getting her better!!!
     
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Your removal technique sounds ok. You'll need to make some special tools to get the top off in the area of the endblocks. Forget the outside mold--it will just get in your way.
     
  10. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    Thanks Arnold. I've never attempted an undertaking quite like this and feel better that there are people like yourself around to consult with. I will pull the top, carefully clean the cracks with a toothbrush and warm water, perhaps with a little bleach added. After they are fully dry, I will try various clamp and caul scenarios in order to close the cracks, using hide glue for all repairs. After I've got the cracks fixed and the top back on, I'll need some advice on setting the soundpost and I'm sure, many other things. I also plan to touch up the bare edges etc. with French polish. Perhaps a thin French polish wipe over the whole instrument to rejuvenate the old finish a little. Or should I use a violin varnish for the bare spot touch-ups assuming I can get a reasonable color match?

    Does it sound like I'm on the right track or are there some obvious no nos?
     
  11. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    Thanks for the advice Ken. There are some existing patches inside this bass on the back that as I recall are about 3/4" x 3/4" as you say. I think they were about 1/8" to 3/16" thick and were tapered like small pyramids. I'd definitely apreciate some direction on the spacing and quantity of these. I do have quite a bit of aged sitka in the shop that I can resaw or split for patches.
     
  12. Okotok, Please realize that you are getting two of the best in the bass world. Arnold Schnitzer is considered one of the great bass luthiers in the entire world.
    Ken Smith besides owning one of top electric bass companies in the world, but has a collection of some of the best double basess in creation. He also can back up what he says by playing great classical and jazz double bass.
    You can take thier advice to the bank.
    You should thank your friend that sent you to us!
    Best of luck and as MJE and To-Tu- Ra both say have a good time... the bass looks to be promising!
     
  13. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    I was told that this was where the experts were. The internet has a lot of bad but thankfully, it also allows for the exchange of information and knowledge from some of the best in the world. It's great isn't it!
     
  14. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    Hi Arnold. Just wondering what your opinion is on using fish glue rather than hide glue for the repairs? It just seems to have a lot of good qualities such as long open time and no need to keep heated etc. I've read a lot of positives about it and very little negative. Also would like to know what type of special tools I need to build for top removal at the head and tailblock areas. Thanks for any advice.

    Darrel
     
  15. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Forget fish glue, unless it's the type you make up from flakes in a hot pot. I and several colleagues have had horrible experiences with fish glue giving up its bond when subjected to high humidity. I use only hot hide glue, because I know I can trust it. For endblock removal I suggest you take a very long (3-4') flat piece of steel and sharpen the tip so it digs mostly into the block and saves the spruce top. You work it in with moisture and/or grain alcohol and the joint will gradually let go. Good luck!
     
  16. Okotok

    Okotok

    Apr 4, 2006
    Thanks Arnold. I did hear the concerns about high humidity and fish glue. I'll stick with hot hide. I'll be back with more questions after I've gotten the thing apart.

    Darrel
     

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